I am often asked, ” Why should I breastfeed my baby? ” We hear that breastfeeding is best. It is nature’s nutrition. Breast milk is often called liquid gold. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life and then continuation of breastfeeding with baby/table food until the baby is at least one year or longer. But why is it best and what are the benefits? Well here is just a short list of benefits:
Breastfeeding Benefits for Mom
Breastfeeding benefits for mom are associated with the cumulative duration of breastfeeding. Which means that if breastfeed for 3 months one child and 6 months the second child, mom reaps the benefits of breastfeeding for 9 months.
- Breast and ovarian cancer. Reduces the risk of certain types of breast cancer. Breastfeeding for cumulative duration longer than 12 months is associated with 28% reduction in breast cancer and ovarian cancer.
- Immediate postpartum benefits. Mom’s who breastfeed have less postpartum blood loss. Bleeding after delivery lasts shorter than those who do not breastfeed. The mom’s uterus returns to normal size quicker.
- Loose weight. We all want to fit into those jeans we wore prior to pregnancy. Breastfeeding moms at six months weigh less than moms who didn’t breastfeed.
- Diabetes. Breastfeeding reduces the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by 4-12% for each year she breastfed.
- Arthritis. Incidence of rheumatoid arthritis is reduced with a cumulative breastfeeding of 12 months.
- Heart disease. Women who breastfeed have a reduction in risk of cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure.
- Depression. Studies show a reduction in postpartum depression among those who breastfed vs those who did not or who weaned their baby early.
Breastfeeding is a mother’s gift to herself, her baby and the earth. ~Pamela K. Wiggins
“Breastfeeding reminds us of the universal truth of abundance; the more we give out, the more we are filled up, and that divine nourishment – the source from which we all draw – is, like a mother’s breast, ever full and ever flowing.”
― Sarah Buckley
You entered the world;
Hungry for warmth of mother;
My milk sustains you
—Jennifer L Miller
“I lost most of my weight from breastfeeding and I encourage women to do it; It’s just so good for the baby and good for yourself.”- Beyonce
Post written by: Blair Creekmore, RN, IBCLC
(References: “Breastfeeding and the Use of Human Milk”, http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/129/3/e827)